30 Mar You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone, COVID-19
Written by Ben Priest, Business Development Manager.
So, here we are. Lockdown. The lives we knew and relatively took for granted have been put on hold for the foreseeable future. It’s a hugely uncertain, puzzling, worrying time for everyone right now as we all try to get to grips with and reduce the threat this virus has had on us. There are so many more questions than answers, with everyone trying to wrap their heads around the prospect of being confined to their homes for the next however many weeks, perhaps months.
The legendary Italian football manager Arrigo Sacchi once said, “Football is the most important of the least important things in life”. That sentiment rings true more now than ever before. Both for me personally as a football fanatic who is badly missing the sport, but it also relates to everyone else out there; just replace ‘Football’ with whatever your vice is. Of course right now the single most important thing in all our lives is the health – both physical and mental – of ourselves, our family, our friends, and the wider community. But these vices, these loves of ours are what give us a sense of escapism and routine, allowing us to keep some normality in the hectic world around us.
“How do we come together now?”
A lot of the things we lent on to ‘escape’ reality and everyday life are no longer there; sporting events, pubs, bars restaurants, cinemas, theatres, parks, gyms et al. They all made sense to us and were places to bring people together. How do we come together now? Online, in a virtual world, but that physical, tangible essence of being face-to-face with someone isn’t there and it just isn’t the same.
In my work/business world, it’s been a tough time for so many. Reading LinkedIn the past week has been grim, with so many brilliant people either suffering already with reduced hours and pay, or even redundancy. Others are looking over their shoulder and wandering what their future has in store. Fantastic venues – bars, restaurants, hotels etc – are empty and suffering. It’s brutal, but I know the events industry, and other markets who are also hurting, will rally round one another and help as best we can to come out the other side.
“Those links and relationships will matter all the more”.
These will be strange days and weeks ahead. They’ll feel empty to a lot of us in a way they haven’t ever before. Those links and relationships will matter all the more and in time, with some vague sense of optimism around all of this, it may be a blessing in disguise and we can, as a society, come to reflect, understand and truly appreciate what it is in our lives that we value and cherish the most.
The simple question of ‘How are you?’ has never been asked with such meaning before and in this time of isolation, we collectively now have a sense of togetherness with WhatsApp messages flying round more than ever (I’m a sucker for a COVID-19 meme so send any goodies you have my way please…) and Zoom calls being set-up on a daily basis. Being able to connect with people means more now to more of us. Let’s hold onto that and build on it.
“Light at the end of the tunnel”.
One thing is for sure: when we do see the light at the end of the tunnel and we can all return to something which vaguely represents ‘normal’, live events and experiences in a face-to-face environment will be more needed and welcomed than ever before. Businesses and their people will appreciate more than ever the power of being with one another, coming together to engage, communicate and simply revel in being with one another.
Home is where the heart is. For now. But one day we’ll be out and about and free to roam again. And as my local over the road from where I’m currently working day-to-day have so eloquently put it below, we’re gonna have one hell of a party when this is all over!